Fresh Start 2017

Welcoming the Class of 2021

Ashland High School (AHS) offers its incoming students the chance for a one-of-a-kind orientation experience each and every year at Fresh Start. While the program has been perfected for twenty-three years under the guidance of Mark Schoenleber, a retired AHS art teacher, the memories from a given session remain unique to the freshmen who arrive. As the class of 2021 wound their way up the road to the tranquil retreat – nestled under towering pines in the Siskiyou foothills – an atmosphere of positivity pervaded the group. 

All throughout the daytime challenges and meal times, the freshmen class greeted the borders of their comfort zones with optimism and support for one another. Later in the evening, the new high school students engaged with mature issues by sharing personal experience and listening attentively to each other in the activity dubbed “big questions.” Jackie Case, an English teacher staying overnight at Fresh Start for the first time, expressed that “this year’s class is very poised, intelligent, and articulate.” On leaving the retreat, freshmen can take away not only a newfound confidence in themselves, but strong connections to their fellow classmates and counselors as well. “The program itself is invaluable,” added Case in summarizing her experience. “There’s nothing like it.”